By Asitha Jayawardena
On Thursday 7 May 2020, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that the lockdown will continue in Scotland.
In the daily briefing of the same day, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that any short-term changes of the lockdown will be “modest” and “small”. During the daily briefing the following day, the coronavirus death toll in the UK is at 626, with the total deaths at 31,241.
Meanwhile, on Sunday night, PM Boris Johnson is to address the nation on a Roadmap with detailed guidance.
A number of European countries take different measures to battle the coronavirus lockdown and nations like Germany and Greece have been successful.
But how does the unlocking of the lockdown will affect climate change?
Several factors are there but we will look at:
During the lockdown, Skype, Zoom or other providers brought together people from all corners of the UK into one ‘meeting place’. Can this be done even after the lockdown?
Suppose people visit the workplace once a week and the other days working at home. Measures like this will reduce the demand for travel.
Chris Stark, CEO of Committee of Climate Change, said that money separated for roads and rail should be spent on the upgrade of broadband in the country. Such a proposition will see that, instead of travel, what is needed is working online.
Working online will be climate friendly due to a number of reasons. Less fuel consumed will improve air quality. Staying home will make other deductions such as clothes need no ironing.
Travel in the UK is for frontline workers only while others who stayed at home could go out to buy essentials, obtain medicine and for daily exercise.
In articles, initially Wuhan in China, then Seoul, Rome and Madrid and finally London and New York were portrayed for pollution in 2019 and 2020. The impression was clear in 2020; the air quality improved in otherwise dusty and foggy cities. In fact, you can watch the Himalayas from New Delhi.
When the lockdown is over, travel is possible. But are we to travel as we used to, at least the coronavirus is there?
When we are free to travel, due to overcrowding, London Tube and buses are not good for rush hours so people might go to work by car instead. And this is bad! But if online work catches up after the lockdown, rush hours would not happen.
Air travel and tourism
Air travel coupled with tourism is not different from travel when it comes to covid-19.
Most of the airlines are grounded for the time being and most have lost jobs. For example, the British Airways made 12,000 staff redundant.
Grounded airlines have made another sector unlikely to survive – tourism industry. The World Travel & Tourism Council estimates that 100 million job losses in travel industry.
Will air travel start normally after the covid-19 jab developed? If the governments announce bail out plans, they will survive.
In terms of climate change the improvement of air quality will survive until the aero-planes will pollute the atmosphere again.
Make it green
Finally, making the post-lockdown period green has three ways: stick to working online as you do now; do not travel unless the journey is necessary; and visit attractions in the UK in the near future.
This way, we can make the planet green again!
Climate change: Switch road cash to broadband, adviser says https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-52371140
British Airways plans to resume some flights in July https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/may/07/british-airways-owner-reports-big-loss-coronavirus
Estimated Job Losses Across the Travel and Tourism Industry Jump 30 Percent https://www.northstarmeetingsgroup.com/News/Industry/Coronavirus-Economic-Impact-Travel-Tourism-50-Million-Jobs-World-Travel-Tourism-Council